When Worlds Collide, by Nalaka Gunawardene

Text of my ‘When Worlds Collide’ column published in Ceylon Today Sunday newspaper on 26 Feb 2012

The late — and great – innovator Ray Wijewardene was best known for building and flying ultra-light aircraft. But he was also interested in finding ways to improve the ordinary bicycle.

Ray exchanged ideas with people around the world who were trying to improve the two-wheeled design – first introduced two centuries ago – so that riders could travel faster with less effort. Always mixing functionality with good design, he wanted to enhance performance while ensuring comfort.

In his garage, he built some strange looking pedalling devices. One had the rider seated in a reclined position, as in a go-cart. It certainly reduced drudgery for the rider, but wasn’t well suited for our chaotic road conditions.

Once, when it was being tested on a busy Colombo road, the rider was almost run over…

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Author: Nalaka Gunawardene

A science writer by training, I've worked as a journalist and communication specialist across Asia for 30+ years. During this time, I have variously been a news reporter, feature writer, radio presenter, TV quizmaster, documentary film producer, foreign correspondent and journalist trainer. I continue to juggle some of these roles, while also blogging and tweeting and column writing.

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